The Tema Metropolitan Health Directorate (TMHD) has held a stakeholders’ forum to address the increasing rate of maternal and newborn mortality in the area.
The forum was on the theme “Reduce maternal and newborn mortality now”.
The Tema Metropolis in 2016, recorded 49 maternal deaths and 350 still births while the Greater Accra Region saw the death of 194 pregnant women and 1,884 newborns.
Dr. John Yabani, Tema Metropolitan Health Director, said the World Health Organisation (WHO) defined maternal death as “the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management but not from accidental or incidental”.
Dr. Yabani indicated that despite the numerous health facilities in the metropolis and a number of interventions put in place by his outfit, maternal and newborn deaths kept increasing in the area, a trend he described as “worrying”.
He disclosed that the Metropolis could boost of five public health facilities, 58 private, four quasi government, and 32 CHPS zones providing several medical services to residents.
He said representatives from all these health facilities, Assembly members, pregnant women, religious groupings, the media, traditional birth attendants, among others met at the forum for brainstorming on the best ways to reduce drastically the alarming figures.
The Health Director mentioned that delay in reporting to health facilities by pregnant women, delay in responding to emergency by health officials, non-availability of needed logistics and delay in referral cases among others contributed to the death of pregnant women.
As part of measures to prevent such deaths, he noted that several meetings had been held with pregnant women and midwives in addition to the introduction of the kangaroo mother care at the Tema General Hospital.
Dr. Yabani added that there was therefore the need for stakeholders to reason together and get commitment from each group on what it would contribute to reduce the mortalities.
Dr. Patrick Aboagye, Director of the Family Health Division of the Ghana Health Service said poor quality of care for mother and child, lack of knowledge on danger signs in pregnancy, transport challenges, inadequate risk assessment, unacceptable staff attitude and religious beliefs also contributed greatly to the death of pregnant women.
Dr. Aboagye announced that to enable midwives to detect dangers early, his outfit was deploying about 500 ultra sound scan machines to health facilities across the country while they worked at training about 600 midwives by the middle of the year.
He further said community nurses who had interest in midwifery were also being attached to midwives to help them in the discharge of their duties.
He appealed to health professionals to provide compassionate maternity care to clients devoid of inflicting physical abuse on patients, poor clinical care, non-confidential care, verbal abuse, discrimination and detention at facilities.
Dr. Kwabena Opoku Adusei, Tema General Hospital (TGH) Medical Director, called for the establishment of specialised hospitals for maternity and child care since children’s hospitals in the country were currently providing general services as government was not providing them with the needed funds to function properly.
Dr. Adusei also complained about the lack of the needed doctors at the TGH stating that the hospital currently has only three doctors for the obstetrics and gyneacology department which he described as woefully inadequate due to the high number of patients they attended to.
He said it was not realistic for a doctor to work continuously for 24 hours a day as it was expected of the three doctors posted to the TGH O&G department.
Dr. Sylvia Deganus, O & G Specialists at the TGH, educated participants on pregnancy, labour and pregnancy complications while Mrs Juliana Mitchel, a Paediatrician at the TGH also lectured on newborn period, complications and the way forward.
Participants were grouped and had discussions on the best measures to reduce the mortalities. GNA